The Complete Overview to Social Security in Thailand for Foreigners (2024)

The Complete Overview to Social Security in Thailand for Foreigners

When you work at a company in Thailand, you have to register for the social security system. 

However, the contributions you need to make per month are quite small. In addition, your company might not even notify you about it, leaving many expats not even aware that they are already in the Thailand social security system. 

In this article, let’s take a look at everything you need to know when it comes to the social security system in Thailand, including how much you need to pay and how can you get benefits from it. 

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What Is It?

When you legally work in Thailand, chances are that you will be automatically registered with social security in Thailand by your employer.  

It’s similar to social security in many countries in the world. Both you and your employer contribute a certain amount of money to the social security office, and get medical and employment benefits in return. 

How Many Types Are There? 

There are actually three types (section) of social security in Thailand as follows:

  • Section 33: for everyone who is younger than 60 years old and working legally for a company in Thailand 
  • Section 39: for freelancers or retirees who had been enrolled in Section 33 before and still want to keep social security benefits 
  • Section 40: for freelancers who had never enrolled in Section 33 before 

Each section gives you different benefits. 

To summarize, section 33 gives you the best benefits out there. It comes with medical coverage, maternity coverage, child coverage, disability benefits, death compensation, pension, and unemployment benefits. 

Social Security Office of Thailand
Social Security in Thailand is managed by the Social Security Office of Thailand

Section 39 is very similar to section 33, but you no longer have the unemployment benefits and the pension amount can be significantly less. 

Section 40 mainly comes with medical coverage. 

We will talk more about the benefits later in the article. 

Although there are three types of social security available, as an expat working in Thailand, you only need to know about social security section 33, since it’s the only section that you need to deal with. 

Do You Need It? 

You need to apply and pay for social security if you are working for a company or organization in Thailand.

Even if you are a business owner with your own company in Thailand, you will also need to have it. It is required by law. 

How to Apply?

You don’t need to do anything in order to apply for the Thailand social security. As soon as you get a business visa and start working, your company will contact the Social Security Office and apply for it on your behalf. 

Once the application is done, your HR department may come to you and ask for your choice of hospital. However, in some companies, the HR department may also choose a hospital for you. 

This is why many expats working in Thailand don’t even realize that they have already been enrolled in the Thailand social security system. 

When you change your job, your previous and new employer will handle your social security on your behalf as well. 

How Much Do You Need to Pay?

You contribute 5% of your salary to the Thailand social security system, up to a maximum salary of 15,000 baht. 

This means the maximum you need to contribute is 750 baht per month, even if your salary exceeds 15,000 baht. 

Then, your employer also needs to contribute an equal amount of money. 

How to Pay for Thailand Social Security

Your social security will usually be deducted automatically from your salary and paid to the social security office by your employer on your behalf. 


Let’s take a closer look at the benefits you get from social security in Thailand.

Medical Coverage

If you have social security in Thailand, you can visit the hospital that you chose during your application and get free treatment for anything that is seen as “medically necessary” by doctors, including any pre-existing conditions.

While this seems good on paper, it might not be as good as you expect. 

There are two main problems with the medical coverage from social security – waiting times and treatment quality. 

Hospitals that accept social security are usually crowded all the time. You might need to go there early in the morning and wait for a few hours just to be able to see a doctor for a few minutes. 

You also cannot choose the doctor yourself. You need to visit a general practitioner first before being referred to a specialist, which can take a week just to make an appointment. 

Since doctors have only a few minutes to examine you, they might not be able to accurately diagnose your illness. Combined with limitations on choices of medications provided by the social security system, treatment quality is not on par with paying out of pocket yourself or using private health insurance.

However, it’s still possible to pay for additional medications yourself for those that are not covered by the social security system. You just need to talk to your doctor about it. 

As an expat in Thailand, medical coverage might be the only benefit you get from the Thailand social security system. Other benefits are geared toward Thai citizens.

Some expats who had been with the Social Security section 33 decide to change their Thailand social security to section 39 after they retire here. This is mainly to receive the medical coverage benefit.

However, there are also those who completely ignore medical coverage from social security and rely purely on their private health insurance.

Maternity Coverage

You can claim 15,000 baht toward the cost of baby delivery with Thailand social security. 

In addition, they also pay you 200 to 500 baht per prenatal-care visit, up to a maximum amount of 1,500 baht. 

If you are female, social security also gives you 7,500 baht per month for three months after delivering a baby. 

Then social security will also give you 800 baht per month until your child is older than 6 years old.

Maternity coverage has a waiting period though. You need to be in the social security system for at least 15 months, and need to contribute to it for at least 5 months before being able to use this coverage. 

If both you and your partner are in the social security system, you need to pick a person to make a claim for social security between you and your partner. Both of you cannot claim maternity coverage at the same time. 

Health Check-up

You get a free health check-up every year. It’s not a premium check-up though. It’s a basic package that only includes basic health tests such as cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood-cell count, and blood-sugar. 

Dental Coverage

You can claim 900 baht a year for common dental treatments such as cleaning, fillings, and tooth removal. 

If you visit a dental clinic that is partnered with the social security program, they will deduct this amount directly from your social security. 

privately-owned dental clinic
You can go to any dental clinic in Thailand for dental coverage.

If not, you need to ask for a dental certificate, receipt, and a claim form from the dental clinic. Then you can fill out the form and send it along with a copy of your bank passbook to the social security office in your area for a reimbursement. 

Or you can send it to your HR department and ask them to handle it on your behalf. 

Disability Benefit

If you have minor disabilities while you’re in the Thailand social security program, they will pay you 30% of your daily rate for 180 months. Minor disabilities are any physical or mental disability you have that decreases your work efficiency. 

Your daily rate is calculated from the maximum salary as defined by the social security program, which is at 15,000 baht a month. 

However, for major disabilities, such as loss of a limb, you will be paid 50% of your daily rate throughout your life. 

To claim the disability benefit, you need to present a medical certificate from a hospital in Thailand.  


If you retire in Thailand after having contributed to Thailand social security for 180 months (15 years) and no longer in the social security system, you will get a pension at the rate of 20% of your average over the last 60 months for the rest of your life. 

On the other hand, if you contribute to SSO for more than 12 months but less than 180 months, you will receive a lump sum instead.

vaccination site in Thailand.
Getting the COVID-19 vaccine and financial compensation during the COVID-19 pandemic is another benefit of Thailand social security.

Death Compensation

In case of death, social security in Thailand will pay 40,000 baht for the funeral. They will also give your family compensation of 50% of your salary for four months or twelve months depending on how long you have been on the social security program. 

If you have contributed to the program for 36 months to 110 months, they will pay your family for four months. 

On the other hand, if you have contributed to the program for more than 120 months, they will pay your family for twelve months. 

Unemployment Benefits 

If you are unemployed, you will get compensation from social security in Thailand as follows:

  • If your contract has been terminated, you will receive 50% of your social security maximum salary for 6 months. 
  • If you quit the company yourself, you will receive 30% of your social security maximum salary for 3 months. 

However, it is a challenge to receive this unemployment benefit. 

Most of the time, if you no longer work in Thailand, you need to immediately leave the country. This means you won’t have a chance to claim for this benefit at all. 

How to Use Thailand Social Security Benefits? 

All of the benefits can be claimed at your local social security office. They all require similar documents, which are:

  • A copy of your passport
  • Your social security number
  • A copy of your bank passbook
  • A social security form, which can be picked up at the social security office 
  • Other related documents such as medical certificates for dental coverage 

In case you visit your social security hospital, previously, you needed to show your social security card along with your passport in order to claim your social security benefits.

However, the card was cancelled many years ago. Right now, you only need to tell your social security number and show your passport. 

You can ask for your social security number from your HR department. 


What is the Best Social Security Hospital? 

This is a tricky question. Each hospital in the social security system has its pros and cons. 

The top government hospitals in Bangkok like Chulalongkorn and Siriraj offer great quality care. But due to their popularity you’re rarely able to pick them.

People tend to avoid some of the smaller, for-profit clinics in Thailand. While they might be easy to get to or have shorter wait times, things might get hairy if you end up needing more costly healthcare.

This means you should pick a large hospital from the get go. If you pick a smaller hospital and your case is serious, a smaller hospital has to refer you to a larger hospital before you can get treated.

But referral processes can be awkward, making it much better to be with a large hospital like Lerdsin Hospital or General Police Hospital to begin with.

In the past, Camillian Hospital was known to be the best social security hospital in Bangkok. However, they are no longer a part of the social security system. 

Right now, it’s based on what you need. In general, big public hospitals such as Police Hospital, Chulalongkorn Hospital, and Rajavithi Hospital are great options if you want to use social security for severe illnesses only. 

These public hospitals are usually overcrowded. Some people need to go there at 4am for a simple doctor’s visit. But they have experienced doctors and are equipped with modern facilities that can take care of all types of illness. 

On the other hand, private hospitals available on the social security system are good for common illnesses. The waiting time is shorter than public hospitals, but their facilities might not be sufficient for treating complicated cases.  

Because of this, I’ve put together a list of Bangkok hospitals in the social security healthcare system that are available to Thai people and that are recommended for their quality of care by friends in the medical field:

LerdsinSilomcrowded, good for orthopedics (sports injuries)
General PoliceRama 1one of the largest, lots of specialists on staff
YanheeCharan Sanitwongsocial security allows you to use all their branches

In addition, we also have an exclusive guide about which hospital to choose for the SSO program

Can I Change Hospitals? 

You can change your social security hospital once a year from the middle of December to the end of March. 

During this period, you can talk to your HR department if you want to change your hospital. They should give a list of available hospitals and you just need to pick one from the list. Alternatively, you can check the SSO website

They usually release an updated list of hospitals around that time of the year. 

Is Social Security Sufficient? 

In practice, Social Security means free treatment. But the costs come in the form of long lines, limited medication, and rushed doctor visits.

And you might not be able to get some patented, more recent drugs with Social Security.

It’s common for doctors at Social Security hospitals to see between eighty and one hundred patients during an eight-hour shift. This means they only have a few minutes to spare for you.

Which hospital you get assigned to will affect the quality of care you’ll get. The difference between hospitals can be significant.

You can get treatment at hospitals outside of the one assigned to you, including premium private hospitals, if you are referred by your designated hospital.

If it’s an emergency treatment, you’re covered for the first seventy-two hours of necessary care. But you’ll get coverage for a lower amount than what basic local insurance covers. And you’ll need to pay and get reimbursed later at the Social Security Office.

Do I Still Need Private Health Insurance? 

There is no right or wrong answer to this question. There are many expats and even locals in Thailand who contribute to social security in Thailand every month but never use its medical benefits at all. 

They buy additional private health insurance and use it to visit premium private hospitals in Thailand because of a much shorter waiting time and better experience. 

There are also those who use social security only when they have severe illnesses. 

Therefore, it’s more on your expectations. If you are okay with the waiting time and service from the social security system, you don’t need to buy additional insurance. On the other hand, if you expect short waiting times and quality treatment, it’s a good idea to have private health insurance. 

To find out more, you can read our in-depth guide to health insurance in Thailand

How to Claim Benefits When Moving Out of Thailand? 

Most expats decide not to get Thailand social security benefits at all after moving out of Thailand since it usually isn’t worth the effort. This is mainly because of the amount of financial compensation, which isn’t a lot, and complicated procedures. 

You need to visit your local social security office before moving out of Thailand. You need to go there with someone who can read and speak Thai since most social security officers in Thailand cannot speak English and all the forms you need to fill are going to be in Thai. 

In addition, social security will only send money to banks in Thailand.  


Any time you quit your job, your employer needs to notify the social security office. If you cannot find a new job, then your social security will be automatically cancelled until you can find a new job in Thailand. 

Can a Director Get Social Security?

This depends on the definition of a director. Generally, there are two scenarios.

In the first scenario, if you establish a company in Thailand and become a director of your own company, you CANNOT receive Social Security in Thailand, as Social Security is primarily for employees.

On the other hand, if you are employed as a director and receive a salary without owning any company capital, it is possible to receive social security.

How to Change from Section 33 to Section 39

If you wish to change your Social Security from Section 33 to Section 39, it is possible under these conditions:

  • You no longer work for a company in Thailand.
  • You have contributed to Social Security Section 33 for more than a year.
  • You can stay in Thailand with other types of visas (such as a marriage visa, a retirement visa, etc.)

To change from Section 33 to Section 39, you need to:

  • Visit your local Social Security Office within 6 months after leaving your company.
  • Bring these documents:
    • Your passport.
    • Your bank book with a copy of the first page (for paying Social Security).

Once there, you can pick up an application form, fill it out, and submit it with all the required documents.

Please note that the entire process, including the application form, will be in Thai. Therefore, it is advisable to bring someone who speaks Thai with you.

Your Social Security payments will be deducted automatically from your bank account every month.

Please note that some Social Security offices may require you to have a pink ID or a yellow tabian ban.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to call your local Social Security office first and inquire about their specific requirements.

If you become employed again, your Social Security will automatically switch back to Section 33.

How to Receive a Pension

To receive a pension, there are two main conditions:

  • You must be older than 55 years old.
  • You have been contributing to Social Security for more than 12 months
  • You must stop contributing to Social Security.

If you have contributed to Social Security for less than 180 months, you will receive a lump sum. If it’s more than 180 months, you will receive a pension, which will be sent directly to your Thai bank account.

To start receiving your pension, visit your local Social Security office with your passport and a bank book with its copy.

Please note that once you start receiving a pension, you will no longer be eligible for medical benefits.

Should I Receive a Pension from Thailand Social Security?

This decision is entirely up to you.

Many retirees in Thailand continue contributing to Social Security Section 39 because they want to maintain their medical benefits. At the very least, if something happens, they can still go to their social security hospital for treatment.

They choose not to get private health insurance, as it can be expensive after the age of 60 and may not cover pre-existing conditions.

How Much Pension Will I Receive?

Your pension will be 20% of your average salary over the last 60 months, paid for the rest of your life.

For example, if your average salary is 15,000 baht a month, which is currently the maximum salary in Thailand’s social security system, you will receive 3,000 baht as a pension per month.

Additionally, if you have contributed to social security in Thailand for more than 180 months (15 years), you will receive an additional 1.5% per year.

For example, if you have contributed for 16 years, you will receive a pension of 3,045 baht per month (3,000 baht + 1.5%).

Now, on to You

We hope that this article answers everything you need to know when it comes to social security in Thailand. 

Although it’s not the best system out there and has limited benefits for expats, it can still give you some health coverage that you might need in the future. 

To use social security in Thailand or completely ignore it is totally up to you. 

If you have any experience with Thailand social security, please feel free to leave your comments below. 

For more health advice, join ExpatDen Premium and get expert tips and tricks on how to make the most of Thailand’s healthcare system. With your membership, you get immediate and unlimited access to our library containing hundreds of exclusive guides that will help you get affordable yet quality healthcare in Thailand. Here’s just a glimpse of what your membership gets you:

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Saran Lhawpongwad is a Bangkokian by birth. He loves to share what he learns based on his insights living and running business in Thailand. While not at his desk, he likes to be outdoors exploring the world with his family. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

43 thoughts on “The Complete Overview to Social Security in Thailand for Foreigners (2024)”

  1. Hi K. Saran,

    I am a teacher at an international school. I have been working at the same school for over 4 years, and have had the 750 THB social security contribution taken out of my salary each month.

    HR has informed us that the Social Security Office has announced it will stop contributions to the Social Security Fund for all teaching staff and any expat employees in private schools in Thailand, effective May 2024. Do you have any information about this change?

    I would like to continue to make voluntary monthly contributions to remain in the social security system. Will I qualify under Section 39 even if I continue to work at the school and am not unemployed?

    Thank you.

    • As far as I know, a teacher in a private school doesn’t need to be in the Social Security. Instead, there’s a specific fund for that.

      However, if you have been in the SSO before, it should be possible to change to Section 39. Please contact your local Social Security Office to find out more.

  2. How do I contribute to my premium in SSO if I initially contributed as an employee to become self-employed?

  3. I belongs to Indian Nationality, worked in Thailand for 6.6 year during my employment I paid my SSO contribution – i have my SSO card. Now I crossed 55 years old living in India. I don’t have any live bank account in Thailand.
    Shall I claim my SSO lump amount now? What is the procedure? Is there any agency to support to claim this on behalf of me?

    • You need to contact SSO office in Thailand to do it. But I am not aware of any agency to do it on your behalf.

  4. Hi Khun Saran,

    Your post is very informative, thank you for sharing. I have a question, if you don’t mind. I am in my mid-40s and have worked in Thailand for the past 20 years. I am aware that I need to be 55 years old to be eligible for pension benefits. If I decide to resign and return to my home country before turning 55 (and before leaving Thailand), can I arrange for the SSO to send my pension to my Thai bank account once I reach the age of 55? Or do I need to visit an SSO branch personally when I turn 55 to initiate the process of receiving my pension?

    I have friends who left Thailand a few years ago and that they received a lump sum from the SSO, but I’m unsure if this policy still applies.

    Thank you!

    • As of now, you need to visit the SSO office in person to do it. But this may change in the future by the time you want to do it.

      For the lump sum, it’s for those who contribute to SSO for less than 180 months. In case it’s more than 180 months, then, it will come in a form of pension.

  5. Hello Khun Saran,

    I have been working for the same company for 25 years and will continue to do so until I am 60 years old. I have been in the SSO system since the beginning. After I turn 60, and want to change to section 39 to continue with medical benefits, do I need to be on a yellow house book? Presently I am not on a yellow house book. Thank you for your reply.

    • As of now, they don’t need it. But it may be changed in the future. Also, if you are planning to live in Thailand for a long-time, having a yellow book can be useful if you can get it.

  6. Hi your post is very helpful, however I’m wondering if it is possible to cancel or deactivate SSO while you’re still working under the same company?

    • No, you can’t. If you are working full-time in Thailand, you need to have SSO. And it’s done by the company you are working with.

  7. Dear Khun Saran
    My school contract ended. I am in my 30s and I am moving out of Thailand. I requested my school HR about the possibility of withdrawal or transferring SSO money into Thai Bank a/c but they told me can not refund. My
    Is it there any possibility to transferring my money in my Thai A/C.

    • Hi Saroj,

      The SSO can’t refund the amount you contributed to the SSO system. In your case, you might still be able to get the unemployment benefit if you can prove that you can’t get any job during that time. However, since this benefit is mainly for Thais, you might not be able to claim it. The best way to handle this is to go to your local social security office and bring a Thai person with you. This is because most SSO officers are unable to speak English.

  8. Hi, do you know where I can check my social security contributions in the website? I can’t seem to find them. Thank you.

  9. Good day Khun Saran,

    My workplace deducts 750 baht from me every month for SSO and when I checked with SSO, I learned that my contribution is only 750 baht. What does that mean? Does this my workplace use my money only and does not pay for their contribution?

    • I believe they pay in full. It’s just the SSO that only shows 750 baht. It happens to me too.

  10. I have an English language copy of the B.E. 2533 version of the Social Security Fund act. Section 39 says all members (Thai and Foreigners) are entitled to (on retirement) continue their Injury and Sickness benefits and then become voluntatarily insured (pay monthly contributions at a Thai bank). My question is whether both Thai and Foreigners members are entitled to this continuation of benefits by becoming voluntary Insured from the start date of the Social Security Fund Act (August 1990), or did this entitlement start at a later date for foreigners? Thank you.

    • We are really not that sure about that. However, normally, to get SSO Section 39, you need to be in Section 33 first. After that, you can change to Section 39 after you quit your job.

  11. Hi, I want to know if it’s possible for me to withdraw my SSO contributions for 9 years and 9 months since i’ve already resigned from my Thai employer last week and according to them I can’t continue paying my contribution by myself. Thank you for your response.

    • Unfortunately, you can’t withdraw that money unless you reach 55 years old (for retirement benefits).

      However, I think it’s still possible for you to keep contributing the SSO program. But you need to visit the SSO office yourself and change to Section 39.

  12. Dear Khun Saran,
    I have been working for a Thai company in Bangkok for 5 years and now I am resigning to move back to my country. My company has fully paid for my SSO.
    I want to claim the unemployment benefit after resigning, Could you please help me how to proceed and Do I need to stay in Thailand for that process?

    Thank you so much!!

    • You don’t need to.

      Just go to your local SSO office with your passport, a termination letter, 1″inch photo, and a copy of your bank book first page. Then, the officer will ask you to fill out around 2-3 forms. And that’s it.

      Then, they will transfer money to your Thai bank every month. To keep employment benefits, you need to also notify with the SSO office every month as well, which can be done online.

      However, the whole process is in Thai. So, it’s a good idea to bring a Thai friend with you.

  13. Sir/Madam
    I would like to know what do I do for my SSO I am working in Thailand for more than 15 years until now at the same private company. I am not an SSO member. The reason why I don’t have any knowledge about that before I am 51 years old . Can I apply that to avail health benefits thank you.

    • If you are not a SSO member, you can’t use the benefits here. Also, it’s recommended to talk to your company about it since, normally, if you work in a company in Thailand, full-time, you need to be in SSO since it’s required by law.

  14. I am retiring from a university in Thailand after 22 years of continuous employment and social security contribution.
    I wish to continue membership in social security with payments deducted from my eligible social security pension. Is this possible?

    • As far as I know, it’s not possible. This is because, to receive a pension, you need to be no longer in the SSO. However, you might want to recheck with the SSO office again for the exact answer.

  15. Hi Saran,
    I am almost 65 and still working in Thailand for about 30 years.
    I’ve read that the maximum age for SSO is 60, so I wonder if it’s possible to withdraw the lump sum even if I’m still working?
    Thank you.

    • If you are still working with your current employer and paying for your SSO under section 30, there will be no age limit. However, once your contract ends, you can contact the SSO office and get your pension.

  16. Hi Khun Saran,
    I have been receiving SSO pension after the age 55 (2015), worked in Thailand till Nov.2020 and returned to India. In order to get the pension, I need to submit a Life Certificate every year to the SSO office. When I contacted to the Thai Consulate in India for Life Certificate, they need a letter from SSO. Any idea about what letter is this.
    My friend in Thailand personally went to the SSO office for this letter details and they are not aware of this.
    Please help me. Any other source to get the life certificate.

    • Hi Vincent,

      Not that really sure what you mean here. And this is also the first time I hear about a letter from SSO for the life certificate too. In this case, it should be easier to transfer money from your Thai bank that you receive pension to your bank in India.

  17. Hi i been contributing 15 yrs for my sss and i want to move back in my country i want to claimed and get back my benefits how?

    • I believe you need to be at least 55 years old first in order to claim the SSO benefits back. To claim the benefits, you need to go to your local SSO office. It’s recommended to bring someone who can speak Thai with you, if you cannot speak it.

  18. Hi, I have an SS and made contributions from my previous school but I moved to a new school and my current employer doesn’t want to continue processing my contributions. Is there anyway I can pay it on my own, like debit it from my bank account monthly?

    • You need to go to your local SSO office and change your social security type to section 39. But you are going to get less benefits as stated in the article.

      However, this might raise a suspicion to a SSO office. Normally, if you are employed, it’s required by law that your employer needs to enroll you to the social security system.

    • That depends on which benefits you want to claim. The best way to do is to visit your local social security office with your passport and a copy of your Thai bank book, tell them the benefit you want to claim. Then, they will give you the form for that.

  19. How to Claim Benefits When Moving Out of Thailand? How would the SSO even know you have left the Thailand if you didn’t tell them? And even if you did, if you died overseas how would SSO know about it if nobody told them? Are there periods when one must present oneself physically at a SSO? I doubt they have a direct, real time computer link to Thai immigration.

    • Let’s say that SSO in Thailand isn’t an active system. You always need to file document in order to claim benefits or send someone on your behalf to do it for you. So, if someone die abroad, their family need to file document in order to get death compensation from SSO. The only exception is the medical coverage where you don’t need to do anything if you go to a your SSO hospital. And they don’t require you to regularly present physically yourself there.

  20. Hi, I worked at different hotels in Thailand for many years, my salary receipts show Bt450 deductions every month. Unaware of this Social security until I reached 60 years old last year, checked my old luggage and found 3 different SS numbers. How can I check if I’m covered with these benefits/pension. Thank you.

    • Just contact the social security office in your area. They should be able to check it for you and recommend you what to do next. Please note that they might not be able to speak Thai. So, it’s best to bring someone who can speak Thai with you.

  21. I work for a private school. I pay tax, but I do not know whther I pay Social Security contributions. I have a tax number; is tht the same as a Sociial Security number?

    • Tax number is different than SSO number. To find out whether or not you contribute to the SSO program, you can take a look at the total amount of salary you actually receive each month. If 750 baht is missing (after income tax), then, it means you are already in the SSO program.


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